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Abraham Accords (21 September 2020)

Abraham Accords (21 September 2020)

Why in News:

Bahrain and UAE have signed a historic agreement with Israel aimed at normalising relations between the two sides.


U.S. President Donald Trump on 15 Sept, 2020 hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain for the signing of the historic Abraham Accord, which is the first Arab-Israeli peace deal in 26 years.


This is the first agreement between Israel and Arab countries since the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty.

There were the only two peace deals between Israel and the Arab States in more than a quarter of a century.

Egypt was the first Arab State to sign a peace deal with Israel in 1979.

Summary of the Debate

The Abraham Accords:

  • The historic deal has been signed by the UAE, Bahrain and Israel, under U.S. President Donald Trump’s Israel, UAE and Bahrain Abraham Accordmediation.
  • Under the agreement, the UAE and Bahrain would normalise ties with Israel, leading to better economic, political and security engagement.
  • The Accord has the backing of Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the UAE and Bahrain.
  • The aim of these agreements is to establish diplomatic ties and embassies being located in both the countries, exchange of Ambassadors, cooperation in which they promise to work together.
  • The idea is they will be working in various sectors; these sectors include trade, tourism, healthcare and security.
  • The Accords will help the Muslims around the world to visit and to peacefully pray at the third holiest site in Islam, Al-Aqsa Mosque.

This normalisation has to be seen in the background of the following major issues:

  • New objective foreign policy of UAE which has seen active role in Syria, in Yemen, in Libya, in Egypt and elsewhere and also their ongoing confrontation or cold war with Iran in the background of occupation by Iran of three of their Islands.
  • President Trump seeking re-election, his problems with the covid pandemic and challenge by the democrats. So, he needed a diplomatic victory of thought.
  • Israel Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is facing a corruption scandal. He is under an enquiry and also his handling of the pandemic and the weak and vulnerable coalition government.
  • Israelis now have realised that if USA is in a withdrawal mode, they have to look afresh as being part of West Asia.
  • It is very clear that even though no agreement has been signed by Saudi Arabia itself, they are very clearly behind it because without Saudi Arabia’s blessing, a country like Bahrain could not have gone ahead with such dramatic development.


India’s stake in this region:

  • India always taken a holistic balanced position in the region.
  • India has a traditional support for the Palestinian cause and that has not weakened in any manner possible. Minister of External Affairs has again reminded the world that India remain committed to the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian have right to live in secure, fixed statehood.
  • In the last 26-27 years, India has developed relationship with the Israel and this relationship has progressed to a very significant level where both the countries have considerable exchanges in the defence sector, security field, in trade and commerce, in high technology areas.
  • Gulf countries are extremely important for India because India get a lot of its energy supplies from the Gulf countries.


  • India has already signed defence cooperation agreement with Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman and it has to be operationalised and this will be a win-win situation not only for India but also for Gulf Countries. India also has robust relations with Israel and growing relations with USA in the military security field. So, in the coming years, India can enhance relationship in the intelligence cooperation in the region. It would safeguard the core interest of Indian workers, India’s energy security, trade and commerce and investments and food security.

Important points made by the Guests

Virendra Gupta, Former Ambassador 

  • The entire picture is rehabilitation of Israel in a certain sense and also a very distinct message to Palestinians that this approach of all or nothing will not work. They have to move with the times and there are certain maximalist demands that Palestinians have always insisted on that in all likelihood they will not be able to get.
  • The region is moving towards normalisation and Israel has always had existential problems. In 1948, when Israel was created, a large part of the world was against the creation of Israel and also the Arab countries rejected it and Israel was attacked. Since that time they have suffered existential threat. But now, they are accommodated and accepted by countries in the region.
  • Once, Israel is given a little feeling of comfort, they will then which is also part of the agreement that they will also desist from undertaking illegal activities in the occupied territories. They have been ventingly going on with the annexation of the territories which is not right because as much as you accept Israel right to exist in a peaceful environment, you must also accept the right of Palestinians to a state of their own.
  • It’s a revolution and it has very far reaching implications. When OIC was setup, the Islamic countries were solidly joined together in their opposition to Israel. This Accord has not punctured the unity; it has already started getting punctured. In the last few years, the division between the Shia and the Sunni and that kind of conflict has brought about a considerable weakening of the Islamic front as it were against Israel.
  • As far as this Accord is concerned, USA has put pressure and if USA continues to put pressure, more and more countries will join. The coalition that has developed in the Middle East against Iran and that is working on accommodating Israel.
  • The Arab countries so far were united on the position that Palestine must get its Pre-67 boundaries that Israel must retreat to the Pre-67.

Prof. A.K. Pasha, Centre for West Asian Studies, JNU 

  • It could be seen as baby steps in the larger picture which has eluded peace in this region for a century, particularly after 1948 and more specifically after Saddam concluded the Peace Agreement in 1979.
  • Many thought that largest Arab country recognizing Israel and signing the Peace Treaty would usher an era of peace, but many were disappointed because of the Israel invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and subsequently the other developments.
  • The three parties, four parties had their own compelling reasons to look at this region afresh. Given the assertive role of Iran, the newly emboldened Turkish President Erdogan and what they have been trying to do to shore up the Hezobullah, to shore up the Palestinians casuse, sidelining Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries.
  • So, in that way, one has to see the domestic compulsions of these three states plus USA, then the regional players who are active now, who are trying to sideline the older players.
  • It’s a mixture of domestic, regional and global factors which have brought about this at this juncture. But, many more steps have to be taken to see this region enjoy peace, security and stability.
  • American President mention few more countries which are lining up, probably he has in his mind are namely, Oman, Morocco, Sudan or even Qatar in the line, but it does not seen any possibility very soon because the ground reality has not changed much, in fact, it has given additional ammunition to Iran, to Turkey, to Hezobullah, to Hamas and other critics and also the vulnerability of the Israeli government is also there, whether it can really sustain the kind of promises they have made.
  • The larger threat which one might see is the ganging up of Israel, Bahrain, UAE and American in the gulf against Iran in the background of American threat to reimpose the UN sanctions after the Security Council rejected their bid to have the arms embargo extended.
  • There is also the threat perception which is growing that earlier Obama had prevented Israel from attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities, but now Israel has reached the shores virtually of Iran and it will be much more easier for Israel to accomplish its goals given the preoccupation of the American administration until the election.
  • Until recently, the Gulf countries were looking towards Pakistan for a variety of issues especially in the security sector which become a history now. The gulf countries who have offered relations and those who have not are developing closer relations with Israel, not only in the intelligent security field but also importing weapons now.
  • For quite some time, the Gulf countries have been sending signals for robust military defence security intelligence cooperation with India.

K.V. Prasad, Senior Associate Editor, The Tribune 

  • In the white house, in the presence of President Donald Trump, this deal brokered largely by America and essentially through bilateral agreements; one between the Israel and UAE and another between Israel and Bahrain.
  • Though, it has been called as a peace deal, one thing is essential that the deal that came in the West Asian Region is after almost a quarter of century because the first time the deal was between Egypt and Israel in 1975 for Camp David and again a peace treaty signed between Jordan and Israel on 26 October 1994.
  • After 1994, Israel had no diplomatic relations with anybody in the Arab world. So, this is a very significant move in that direction because two countries which are also important in the GCC and UAE among them will have diplomatic ties and take the thing forward.


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